Ionic Pro does some things really well. Its pretty straight forward to set up. The interface is clean and easily navigable. The price point is reasonable. The support I have received has been responsive and helpful and goes the extra mile - even on things that aren't directly related to their product (ie issues with Cordova plugins). I feel like the offering is polished and what it does - it does well.
As a Windows developer coming from using a competing product (Telerik App Builder) for 5 plus years - my primary goal was to use Ionic Pro for cloud based builds (as iOS building isn't an option on my preferred OS and honestly I'd prefer not to have to manage and store all the SDKS related with builds if I can avoid them). I've had 2 main issues with Package so far:
- Once a build is complete - there is no way to install it on a phone except downloading the iOS/Android package and install manually. On other cloud build solutions I've used (App Builder, Unity's cloud), I've been able to install apps by scanning a QR code on the phone and having it installed directly. For iOS this is done using an ITMS link and Android a direct download of the APK. This should be a fairly straightforward feature to implement within Ionic Pro and would add a ton of improvement to the usability (I can provide a spec on how to implement if the need :)).
- I have yet to be able to get an Android build to fully work in cloud when I've had the full set of plugins enabled for my apps (for note - I am migrating existing apps). This is not an issue of Package per se - there has been a lot of Google updates, Cordova updates and Plugin updates that have created a perfect storm of issues - so this is more a gripe about the Cordova Ecosystem (something hopefully Capicator improves upon) - but the available logging coming from the console has made it a challenge to identify problems at times. I've had an issue with a custom plugin that simply wouldn't install when run through Package - though it worked locally on both my pc and mac. It seems related to the Linux environment they were running the Package process on - but there was nothing I could have done to better understand the problem with the logs I was receiving. Fortunately the support team is awesome and helped me find the eventual culprit - but I would have been lost without them.
A third request (though this would take more technical lift) - is to be able to submit to iTunes via Ionic Package. This is technically possible (as I was previously able to do it with App Builder) and would make the build, deploy, release cycle very streamlined - though I admit I am uncertain what would be entailed by this effort.
Also would be useful is an improved simulation environment for development. Ionic View and Ionic Dev app are good for initial prototyping the UX of an app - but once you get out of the initial development phase and need to introduce custom plugins - they quickly become insufficient. However, using Ionic Lab really leaves a lot to be desired too and without support for simulating basic plugins - creates a pretty wide gap. An intermediate solution - a simulator with some standard
plugin support and potentially mock plugin support for custom plugins would really be useful for keeping development work on the desktop and proceeding rapidly (to note this is something that App Builder offered and really allowed a lot of productivity gains).
My primary goal is to use the Ionic Pro for cloud-based builds - though ideally the offering could be expanded to cover the entire Ionic development cycle (improve development setup experience, code writing, testing, deployments, monitoring, etc). Early indications are they are going this direction - I just hope they keep doing that.